Polymathy is the knowledge of a variety of arts and sciences, which provides variety to learning and as such fosters creativity in projects. This no doubt has made many historical contributors in history effective at arriving at creative innovations and bold contributions to their times. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, George Carver, Lonnie Johnson, Victor Ochoa, Steve Jobs are just a few inventors in history who were polymaths.
What are the benefits of fostering polymathy in your children or yourself?
Improves happiness - by providing fulfillment in your life by allowing for variety and to chase away boredom or a feeling of being stuck. So if you work as a patent clerk like Einstein, it helps to have and foster interests in other areas that are wholly unrelated like Physics. Its important to do that intentionally to the point where you pursue whatever topic you choose with a learning plan of at least 1-3 hours daily.
Fosters a love for life-long learning - it won't take long to experience the benefits of pursuing additional learning and interests and in fact, will likely drive you to crave learning in other areas such as foreign languages, dance, music and art for example, which will lead to improved socialization and reinforce your desire to do and learn even more.
Allows for resiliency - there is little argument against the benefits of having multiple potential careers to draw from should you decide or find yourself forced to change careers at some point in your life. During this time with Covid-19, a lot of people are finding that old jobs or side interests may be coming to the rescue by allowing them to transition more quickly into jobs or careers that survive this economy and that will benefit them in the long run. Having additional skillsets will allow you to recover faster when life happens. Also, this will reduce the effect of increased automation in the future that we are already seeing the effects of and is on par to be extremely disruptive in the years ahead. But less so, if you have multiple careers to draw from. The easiest way to see this effect is to keep a full resume of all your education, studies, interests and hobbies and you will begin to see what you offer the world.
Avoid specialization early - this will help in avoiding what we call the "Koala" effect. The Koala eats mostly Eucalyptus leaves and is very specialized at doing so as it is largely poisonous to other animals. But, being specialized in this way makes the Koala vulnerable to changes in the Eucalyptus ecology, mainly a loss of these plants very quickly endangers their population. Don't be a Koala, generalize and then specialize only if it offers you an advantage in a particular field.
Boosts your ability to adapt - if you have already taken the time to gear your neurons into allowing for rapid learning of unrelated topics you will more rapidly pick up new skills should the need arise. Being a polymath will help you or your children embrace change, whether its forced upon them or not - they will be able to move into another field or interest easily and let go of anything else they either don't need anymore or if doors are suddenly closed to them.
Intelligence quotient improved - you will also raise your IQ significantly and make connections that will be great for future business ventures or just your creativity in general.
Expresses individuality - this will allow you to be truly original. Imagine being someone with a background in dance, art, medicine and programming - imagine the contributions you can make! Imagine the businesses you can come up with! Then imagine the person you can be.
Encourages engagement and use of the current education system - We Should Code has always believed that the most important skill children should learn in school is..."how to learn". The argument to the age old question of "Why am I learning algebra or [insert typical educational grind course here]" is "To learn how to learn, or more specifically - how you learn". This is so they can learn the things they are interested in much easier and will be far more successful in whatever their career or job of choice.
Seek To Be A "Triadic" Polymath
This refers to seeking at least three subjects or areas of interest that are equidistant from each other in terms of relevance. For example, the author is a physician, software engineer, game designer and is currently learning Spanish. Seeking to master three areas in which he is interested. So include in your life-long learning pursuits at least three areas vastly apart from each other as in this case: language mastery, career such as doctor, lawyer, tradesman, etc - doesn't have to involve going to college, just seeking to master a career in general. Then finally, you should include some form of analytical pursuit such as software engineering. These can be replaced by pursuit of arts as well - so instead of a language you could choose to pursue dance, drawing, 3D design. Just make sure it is expressive and has a lot to offer your creative engine.